The Power of a Parent's Voice

Have you ever been accused of being a chatty person? Told not to talk so much? Given the chat, chat, chat emoji? Well, I have good news for you if you are a preemie parent! That ability to talk might just do your baby a lot of good. If your the shy quiet type, well this is the time to step it up and talk!

We have heard over the years that babies recognize their parents voices straight away, especially Mom. This makes total sense considering they have been carried by Mom and heard everything she has said for 9 months. In regards to a preemie, that length of time can be considerably shorter. Even so, why would it surprise any of us that a new study has found that Mom's voice can sooth a preemie in the NICU.

Dr Manuela Filippa, of the University of Geneva, the study's first author, shows how parents voices can play a very important part of their babies care in the NICU. She started this study because she realized that parents are not always allowed to hold their babies in the NICU. Thus their voice could be the only tool available to use. Doctors are trying to find non-pharmacological ways to lower pain for those babies experiencing medical procedures and other stressful situations. The separation between parents and babies can have profound negative impacts on their stress levels. Knowing that hearing their parents voice makes a difference is reassuring. To read more of the study, please check out this link.

Dr Filippa says, “The key message is that it is very important to involve parents in the early care of their preterm infants, also in difficult situations like painful procedures by using their voice… What we know now is that parents can do it and it is beneficial.”

I think this study is important in many ways, just knowing the simple act of talking to your baby can make a big difference. So many times in the NICU parents feel helpless. It is very reassuring to know that something as natural as talking to their preemie can be so helpful. It calms and soothes them and no doubt will do the same for you. So go for it, tell your baby how wonderful they are, how loved, and all the dreams you have for them. You never know, that just might be the thing that brings them home faster!